Tulsa County

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Memory Lane

SKIATOOK Memory Lane  
Tulsa's second Memory Lane Site

Below are some e-mails about a stroll down Memory Lane.

Hope you will enjoy  our short stroll down memory lane. Anyone having memories of Tulsa that they would like to share are welcome to send me e-mail GunneyJay@sssnet.com and I will add to the list below.

THEATERS: Trying to think of the names of the theaters in  early Tulsa ...Remember  THE RITZ, THE RIALTO, THE Orpheum with its organ, the balcony and the beautiful ornate architecture....THE GEM  AND THE MAJESTIC..... there was one south and 2 north ..1 by the viaduct and 1 by Dick Bordens :maybe...can you help?

How about the Delman at 15th and Lewis.  And the Tulsa at 2nd and Main Street (early 50's);  the Tower at 11th and Denver.  There were two on East 11th, Recall their names?...One maybe Will Rogers? It was at 11th and Sandusky(?).  Another at 11th and Atlanta, by Wilson Jr. High School.  The Plaza at 15th and Peoria.  Oh, there was one at Admiral and Lewis (Whittier Square), the first to open away from downtown, by the name of Circle Theater. These were more or less neighborhood theaters.  There were two on the  Main Street viaduct in the mid 50's, Uptown and Cozy. Maybe, there was one more, not sure of its location, but near downtown Tulsa, called the Lyric Theatre that closed
in the early '40's and was demolished in the 1970's.  This was early 1940's. Remember  the grandeur of those downtown movie theaters - the red velvet curtains - the plush chairs - the ushers - the balcony - the thick carpet. None of the modern movie theaters can come close to those old ones. Remember which one it was that had an ambience of being outdoors...look up and see stars? It dreamy, and  much cooler than a drive-in. Maybe it was the Ritz Theater.  Remember, the theaters were the first public buildings to be air-conditioned. Speaking of air conditioning -  the first department store to have it was Sears down on 6th and Boulder (it was freezing). 
Saturday mornings was for the kids "back then" ... catching the bus and going down town. Movie was a dime, 6 donut "holes" and a large milk was a nickel. Then to the movie then a nice long browse thru Woolworth and Kress and it was time to catch the bus home. Can you even imagine turning a 10-12 year old loose like that now days? Getting dressed up to go to the movies.  Heck, we dressed up to go shopping.

But what about the Drive-Ins? The Admiral Twin was the one  but there were several more. One was out on Apache. The Admiral Twin may still be standing. Remember the name of the drive-in on Apache? Remember the Capri, Bellaire, AirView(?), and SkyView or SkyLine?...   Remember kids sneaking into a drive-in in the trunk of a car?  Remember the car that had stow-a-ways in the trunk.  The car was so low back that it nearly touched the pavement when it drove in, and when it drove out.  Fad in late 50's and early sixties was to have a car that had a low rear-end and the front was tilted upward. How could anyone see where they were going!  

While strolling <g> .... Pennington's, Cotton's .... Saturday nights... Stuffing ourselves on burgers, onion rings and gallons of cherry (or vanilla) cokes all to the sounds of rock 'n roll. Oh yes, anyone who was 'anyone' had to at least drive through Pennington's.
The guys showing off their cars...

Or .... the Wonder Bread Bakery ....  (You could smell the fresh baked bread "a mile away") ..... or Easter Sunrise Service in Chandler Park ... or Skyline Park in Jenks ... Wandering thru Woolworth & Kress downtown ....Saturday night dances at Teenation or the "Y" .....Remember any of those?

How about Ike's Chile Parlor -- best ever...

Brown Dunkin & Vandevers, with their elevators with a operator "Going up!"
Frougs with their volume tubes to take the money up to the office,
Newberrys, Woolsworth and Kress fountains (yummy sodas) and lunch.  Remember sitting on the stools at the 'soda' fountain and having Cherry Limeades?  Remember going to Swan Lake with parents and grandparents and feeding the swans (it didn't have a fence in those days).  

There was also Rainbow Bread.

How about the swimming pools: There was one over in West Tulsa or Red Fork-- remember the name?  Also one going out toward Sand Springs line? The swimming pool going out toward the Sand Springs line was Newblock (New Block) Park. The other one was "Riverside Park" Swimming pool, picnic tables, baseball field and open air dance hall at 71st and Peoria...listen to the Big Band music ....
Those were really swimming pools (Huge) !!!

Remember the old Warehouse Market downtown? They turned it into a used book store.
The Acme..Yellow...and Checker Taxi cabs..
The Old Coliseum where you ice skated.....at Christmas, candy and fruit was given to children and the whole building was over flowing.
Also there would be entertainment. For 30 cents Kids could ride a bus (5cents), go to a movie to see Gene Autry (10cents), get popcorn (5cents), stop by the wonderful original CONEY ISLAND (5 cents), and catch a bus home.
There was a used and new book store around the corner of coney island that you could get used comics for 5 cents or trade 2 for 1
The premiere of TULSA:...Susan HAYWARD, Chill WILLS, and Robert Preston .appeared on stage and in parade with President TRUMAN... riding on the back of convertibles...President Truman had on a blue suit and he had the bluest eyes...Every one all dressed  up ..ladies always had gloves and a hat. You never saw a lady in jeans. 
Walgreen drug store, which gave many a young person there first jobs. 
Remember  picnics in Owen Park across from Roosevelt Jr. High, it had a wading pool for the little ones  on hot summer days.  There was  the waterfall and some  have pictures of themselves standing on top.  
The ice man used to come by and always chipped off ice for the kids in the summer. The mail man was Jimmy and he delivered mail twice a day to the door! He cared about those on his route and during the war he worried when there was no mail for mothers who had son's over seas. 
There was a tamale man who use to push a cart down the street selling home made tamales.  
The neighborhood grocery store (one was Davis Grocery) where you not only got good meat, fresh produce but the latest "news" and always a welcome by name and a big smile, they even opened on Sundays if you really needed something.

Watching the Philtower building from the corner of Archer and Bradley  was a favorite pass time in the summer as well as catching fire flies and putting them in a jar.

Lots of Tulsans saw their first movie star, Susan Hayward and the President on Main Street in 1949.

Walking to Irving School in the fall and kicking all the leaves that had turned gold 
and red, they rustled when you kicked them and smelled musty.  You knew winter was coming.  The church down the street and friends you made there.  Where it was safe for kids to walk a couple blocks after dark to attend services.  Caroling at Christmas with the choir door to door and being invited in for hot chocolate or a cookie. 

A safer time and wonderful town to grow up in.

Yes, Tulsa has a lot of sweet good memories.


(NEW) From Jane M. (Howard) McIntosh   You forget to mention the "Penny Park" gang. There at the old vern station. We still have a "Penny Park" reunion their every year in September. Its a must to attend if you grew up out on the Sands Springs line. And "Willie's" drive in there at vern station. Oh, you made me home sick.  The park is at 49th & Charles Page Blvd. Formerly known as vern station and the Sands Springs line. Most of us kids from out their all graduation from Tulsa Central High, the old one that is. So, sad to see so many old beautiful things gone from when we grew up.  Born and raised on the Sand Springs line.
(New) From: Gerre Byrd  "Stroll through Tulsa" is marvelous. It brings back many happy memories. My little world was centered on 20th Street in the 2200 block where the following families lived: CATHEYS, ENGARDS, SCHLOSSERS, EARHARTS, TANKERSLEYS & BOWMANS. And behind my grandparents (19th street) were the BEARDS, and Mrs. Ruble (the teacher). A block away: the EBYS. Barnard Elementary School was but a few blocks away and very near the school lived George METZEL, and Richard WYNNE/WINN.

Some of my best friends were: Lois EBY, Virginia CLARK, Suzanne PERRY, and Bruce BOUGHNER. All of us attended Wilson Junior High School and then went on to Central High School.

I was removed from beautiful Tulsa at the age of 15 when my father (Sales Manager of Looboyle's) accepted a position with Kautzky's Lazy Ike in Ft.
Dodge, IA. I thought my world had come to an end.

But I returned to Tulsa, and soon met and married my husband. Our three children were born in Tulsa, as were my sisters and I.

Some of my fondest memories were: playing softball in the BOWMANS side yard which was as large as a football field, or so it seemed. I also loved crossing 21st to play under the road and down the river/stream, and through the woods.

Yes, I remember the bus, shopping, movies. We bought our shoes at FROUG's.
A type of X-ray machine insured that we were getting the correct fit. I took my kids to TRIPPETTS for the best foot care. And now our grandkids can get a better fit by quickly picking up a pair of shoes at Walmart.

Ah, the famous Philtower Building! I worked there for Noble Drilling Company. I remember such names as: Mike Barry, Frances Pace, & Linda Smith.
There was also a Mr. Ruth and a Mr. Bush. I think the guy I worked for was Mr. Bohannon.

This information is for posterity as well as my own personal stroll.

(New) From: 
Don Goswick “Just thought I would put in my two cents worth as no one said anything about remembering the old trolley cars that ran between Tulsa and Sand Springs in the 40's and early 50's. You could ride on them for a nickel. I grew up at 49th and Charles Page Blvd, known as Vern Station just a few doors north of Penney Park. I also Remember the old Ice Dock at Vern Station and the man that delivered Ice in his horse drawn wagon back when we still had Ice Boxes, before the electric refrigerators. I also remember the old Webb Grocery that was at Vern Station and being able to by a candy bar for a Nickel and also candy for a penny. Soda pop was ten cents a bottle and if you returned the bottle you would get two cents back for it. Wouldn't it be great to be able to go back to the old days in Tulsa when people could sleep at night with their windows and doors opened and unlocked?”
Sent in on 25Feb2004

I love your Memory Lane site.  I also remember the trolley cars, Penney Park and Webbs Grocery.  I remember watching the trolley and the clickety-clack of it when ridding it to town and back. I remember the ice house and the drug store that my mom would take me to to get root beer floats, those were the best!  I remember Shorty's Grocery  I remember when Shorty lost his life while crossing the street to his warehouse.  I have newspaper clippings of the doll and buggy parade that was held for all the parks in Tulsa and was held at Penney Park.  I won 1st place for the smallest doll. 
I lived at 51st and the "Sand Springs Line", my dad was Shorty of Shorty's Garage (not the same Shorty who had the Grocery).   The garage was next to the Skelly Service Station on the corner.  I lived behind the Skelly Station and across the street from Lucky Market which was later Ford's Grocery.  I went to Riley Elementary from Kindergarten until the 5th grade.  
I also remember the carnivals that were set up in the empty lot at 65th.  Wow, those were the days. 
BJ Searcy f/k/a Beverly Marang 
Does anyone remember Grants at Eastgate Shopping Center?  Frougs was in the same center. There was also a Zales. and a Sooner Federal on the corner.


New from Dave Loving

Sand Springs Line
The lady with a name of Howard...I went to school with a Linda Howard, but I think she died. So Pat Barrett told me.
I remember Karen Bourne, lived on 53rd street. A pretty blonde, very smart and very quiet. Ronnie Smith, lived on 53rd..had about 5 sisters.

I got a weird call a few years ago. They said they were from the Central Yearbook and were gathering data. I figured it was a scam, but I went along. I am glad I did because I was able to purchase a GREAT hardback "year book" with hundreds of names and email addresses in it. I think my old email address is in it. Do you have any year books like that? If you are interested, I could look for mine and send you the info.

I am handicapped now. But if you are looking for data on individuals, let me know.....if you are looking for info on places....like the Rexall Drug Store across from Penny Park? Or the drug store at 53rd.....Glenn Station from Street Car days. I remember some of the places. Mostly I remember people. Many are in jail.

Watch "The Outsiders"......the movie, if you haven't already. We never carried guns, but we were classified as the hoods. I could tell you a LOT of stories on the phone, the statute of limitations has ran out......and a lot of the stuff we did was not mean spirited, more prankish. Like Central going to Webster and spelling EDison on their green grass. When the grass died, it spelled Edison. WOW...Webster was mad and did something to Edison. Those of us "in the know" at Central just stood back and smiled. As has been said many times Those were the best of days, the worst of days........

Oh yeah, when I was 3 or 4, I told my mom I was going to see Uncle Gene in Sand Springs. Well, I was always riding my tricycle around the house, mom would ask where I was going....I would say "Chicago, to see Aunt Grace".....mom would smile and off I would ride, with my little suitcase (it had a lamb on it). One day, I walked down 51st to the street car spot, caught it and rode it to Sand Springs. I can remember it very well, because the nice man asked me for money. I did not know what money was. Mom says they let the schools out, the police, the sheriff, boy scouts...you name it. My Uncle Gene was a lawyer who lived at about 903 Garfield in Sand Springs. I was within a block of his house when they found me. Man did I get whacked. I could never understand why, I told her where I was going and when they found me I was almost there.

Moms...go figure!!!!!

I remember the Rexall drug store at 49th and "Sand Springs Line" with sand bags around it front door. I remember the Glenn Station drug store having cherry cokes. I remember when there was no Keystone Dam and when they dug it. In '57 I stood on the levee, watching the water be within a foot or so of the top.

We rode the city bus into Central High. Ten cents each way. Gasoline was 28.9 for Regular.

Penney park was a wading pool we could play in during the summer. I think there is a church just north of it, Grace Methodist?? Our boy scout troop met there.

I would walk from 432 South 51st West Ave up to my buddies house on 49th...almost to the "North Road" ---I would carry a .22 Rifle or shotgun with me, a box of shells and no one thought anything of it. Today? The police would pick you up within ten minutes.

The old Sand Springs Drive In and the Root Beer Stand "down on the 4 Lane"

I attended Riley Elementary in '50, '51....left town and came back in '56. Attend 6th grade at Riley, then Madison 7-9 and Central 10-12. I came back and stayed with my parents while I went to Tulsa University. I started college in June '67 and graduated in July 69 with a BSBA in Accounting. 2.97 GPA and I averaged working about 30 hours a week. No one in our area had ever went to college before. I never took the SAT exams. By the time TU noticed that, I was about to graduate and they dropped it. I never asked them if it was ok, I just took every college hour I could.....and graduated.

I left Tulsa July 1, 1963 for the Air Force boot camp....got out in May'67 ---- got my BSBA in Accounting, worked locally for 2 years and realized I wanted the "security blanket" offered by the AF. I went back in the AF as an officer in Sept 71 and retired in Nov '87. I ran my own business until the end of 1999...my wife was tired of the long hours, so I worked for the State of Calif as a fraud investigator. Got hurt in a car accident and am now fully disabled....with so darned many medical problems I can't believe it.

We get back to Tulsa about every third year. My family has a reunion out in Mannford. We park our motorhome, rent a car and go see the "sights".

The worst thing I saw the last time we were there was that Tulsa now has a brown haze over it.

By the way, to get into TU cost $10 admittance fee. I still have that stub. OU and OSU were about $100 to $115 per semester. TU was more. My last full semester was Jan to May 1969...$275 for up to 22 hours. In 2006 dollars, that would be about $1550 a semester.

There used to be a TG&Y at the corner of 49th and Charles Page. I carried just about every shelf in that building...I am not sure it is standing now. It opened in the spring of 1968 as I recall. A lot of work.....

I also remember the Charles Page Park and street cars on the line, the newblock pool, hiking up into Osage county, riding our bicycles anywhere we wanted, taking my dog with me to Rexalls and he would lay outside the door for an hour. He didn't bite anyone and no one stole him. Life was a lot simpler then.

Elvis came to town, I was too young. My older brother went. Chuck Berry and other "legends" of rock and roll. Elvis was too vulgar, Oklahoma City cancelled him as I recall. The "Olden" days.
The drive in on Apache St. was called The Apache. While dragging Admiral Street looking for girls, along with Pennington's and Cottons, there was Wynn's and the A& P Root Beer stand. Wasn't there a Drive -In on Sheridan called the Sheridan? Remember the dollar a car night at the drive in? The gas wars, gas was 15 cents a gallon. You could get a dollars worth of gas and drive all night. Tulsa is still a great city and the Tulsa State Fair is still one of the best.
Submitted by:
  Homer Cowan III


From: Fore, David
Date: 10/31/2007 11:55:55 AM

Yes, the theater at 11th & Sandusky was the Will Rogers.  How about the one at 15th and Lewis, one of the last truly in Theater style?  Oh, and the drive-in at Apache and Harvard was called, appropriately enough, the Apache Drive-in.  Admiral Twin is still standing, and functional, but really looking ratty.  All the drive-ins used to have a 'kiddy' place with swings, slides, etc. to keep the kids occupied before the show.  How about the in-car heaters (propane) that hung in the window of the car?  You rented them at the concession stand, they lit it with a blow torch, then you tried to find where it wouldn't roast the people on one side of the car, while the others froze. (Admiral Twin, only one open in winter, I think).  There was also a drive-in at 11th and Mingo as late as the 60's, but I have forgotten the name.

Mainly grew up on the East side, Sheridan Village at Admiral and Sheridan, was a busy shopping center.  Eastgate at Admiral and Memorial was really modern (I knew the man who built the neon sign with the big neon gates for the center).  Whittier Square at Admiral and Delaware was a small, but neat shopping area.  The best times were the bus ride downtown with Mom to a real living downtown, with stores, theaters, Bishops Resturaunt, little cafes here and there.  Or going down to catch an actual passenger train to OKC, steam engine, WOW!  Mom and Dad, before I came along, used to walk from central Tulsa to Sand Springs on Sunday, then splurge and ride the trolley back.  That was their entertainment.

The original Pennington's at Admiral and Harvard was always busy, so was Cotton's at Admiral and "the traffic circle", but it was for the 'rebel' crowd mainly.  Just East of Pennington's there was still a small brick gas station, with two pumps, and a glass topped hand operated pump for "White Gas" (Kerosene).  Instead of a hydraulic rack, it had a concrete pit on the side of the building, with a ramp you pulled your car up on, the mechanic walked down into the pit to work (unless it had rained hard!).

There were Mom & Pop stores in every neighborhood, our big 'commercial' area at Yale and Pine consisted of a small grocery store on one corner, and a gas station on the other side of Yale. One block South on Yale was a drug store, with a small soda fountain where you could still get Coke like it should be!  And if your register receipt had a red star on it, your drink was free the next time.  There was still a Feed Store, with three story grainery, wooden docks, by the railroad track at Dawson and Pine.  The meat packing house just North of there was 'fragrant' when the wind was from the North!  Right in the middle of all this was a large 'coal strip pit' that was out of service, but had left behind huge hills of rubble, and deep pits with green water.

Out at the airport, Tulsa only, not International, at Apache and Sheridan, the terminal was a neat Art Deco building.  The planes pulled up to the terminal, and you walked down the steps of the plane onto the tarmac.  There was also the Spartan Cafeteria across the street, a really busy place on Sunday when the special was roast beef.  Must have been a hangar at one point, huge with high ceilings and windows.

Out at 11th and Yale was the Golden Drumstick.  Beat KFC all to pieces.  Great onion rings.  At Admiral and Memorial, on the NE corner, there used to be a drive-in Steak House.  Could enjoy your steak and fixings in your car.  Don't think it did too well.  Crossing over Admiral just East of Memorial, there was a pipeline of some sort, supported on trestles that spanned Admiral.  Really high, now the hill is even gone, or most of it.  Real Ice House about half way between Memorial and Mingo, wooden dock where you pulled up with your car.  They would drag a block of ice out onto the dock, and chip off what you needed.  Crushed? Well, they would chip it to smaller pieces for your Coleman Cooler, or, like my Dad, bring your own ice pick.

Mohawk Park was still a nice, and safe, place to go for picnics, or to the Zoo which consisted of two rows of cages.  Big cats on one side, monkeys and birds on the other.  Good fishing in some of the creeks, and a lot of fishers (and boats) on the Reservoir Lake.  (Please don't 'whizz' in the water, no swimming, Tulsa drinks from this!)  There was a pretty good sized amusement park on the hill above Mohawk Drive and Harvard, and a roller skating rink across the street from the reservoir.  Speaking of amusement parks, also used to be one way out in Jenks, actually SE of Jenks, with a lake (where you could swim) and a roller coaster that followed the hills for a long run around the park.

Admiral was a 4-lane, modern street….out to Sheridan, then it went to two lane.  But it did have the "Traffic Circle" at Mingo, an adaptation of european ideas for traffic control that never went over well with Okies.  But it was the landmark for the area…go to the traffic circle, go North 2 miles and you were at McDonald-Douglas, one of the big employers in Tulsa.  The truss bridge over the Arkansas at Sand Springs was long, and for most intents and purposes, one lane….especially if a truck was in the oncoming lane!  And the "Bee-Line" (Hwy 75) to Okmulgee didn't start to be a highway, two-lane at that, until you were South of 71st St.  Hwy 75 to Bartlesville was modern up to 86th St North or so, when you had to jog over a half mile, and head North on a narrow two lane.  11th street (Hwy 66) was THE street, lined with nicer motels,many with Art Deco fixtures, businesses and resturaunts from about Sheridan into downtown.  You had to zig and zag through downtown to pick up 3rd St (Charles Page Blvd) if you wanted to drive to Sand Springs.  Or cross the river at 11th St. over the concrete bridge to head for OKC.  Big ice plant on the North end of the bridge then, refineries on both sides of the South end.  Driving to Broken Arrow was what felt like an all-day trip on country roads.

School, for me, started at Owen Elementary, a 'new' modern 'ranch style' instituion.  Then Ross Elementary, when it was still in an old two story brick building just North of Admiral and Memorial.  The City condemned the school for structure failure (big cracks you could see through, some say due to low flying military jets going to McDonald-Douglas) and we moved down the hill into pre-fabs, just a half mile walk from home.  For Junior High School it was Alexander Graham Bell behind the Sheridan shopping center (nice 1-1/2 mile walk, unless it rained).  Finally a brand new High School, Nathan Hale on 21st between Sheridan and Memorial.  First time for school bus travel for me, until I got a car.  Had my heart set on East Central High School, then at Admiral and Garnett, but the school district had other ideas.

Then I-244 wiped out most of anything of interest along Admiral, and it has never really recovered.

I was born in Tulsa in 1955 then moved away in 1966. Prior to moving, I recall many trips to Keysone Lake to fish with my grandfather.  He and my grandmother lived at the top of the hill (65th W. Ave. north of Charles page Blvd).  They lived in the same house for about 70 years.  The Harrison Methodist Church was built from stone quarried from the Harrison farm north of the church.  I am related to those Harrisons.
I attended elementary school, first at Lombard Elem. then John Paul Jones Elem.  At Lombard, I, along with my brother, followed in the footsteps of my Dad - he also attended Lombard as a child.  Many of the teachers there recalled his attendance (that's why I got away with NOTHING).
We lived on N. Elwood two doors south of Pine Street.  It is now gone - taken by the freeway.  When we moved to the east side of town, we lived at 5400 block of E. 20th St., just north of 21st.  There was a Catholic church/school to our north.  Some of our neighbors included the Twilleys (Howard, of TU fame) and the Buseys (Gary, the actor).  Others were the FARMERs, WASHBURNS, THOMASes, STOUTS, FERGUSONs, and NAIFEHs, possibly BRASHEARs.
My other grandparents, the HALEs, lived in Skyline Ridge on Xenophen st.  Some neighbors there included the VINCENTs, SCHLIDLOSKIs, and BYRUMs.  At that time there were no houses west of their house - just an open wooded area.  We would go to my grandparents' house and the table scraps would be thrown out; then the flood light turned on. Many nights we saw red foxes come down to eat.

Paul Hale
Added 12May2010
:   Memory Lane:
I also remember Owen Parks wading  pool.  I sure hated it when they filled it in. I lived at Vern Station, up the hill towards Edison. Cameron and 49th.  It was a great place to live until the expressway went right thru the middle of our house.  That was a sad day for me. We had 3/4 of an acre and the neighbor had about the same. We had great baseball games on weekends and Sunday afternoons.  I remember catching the street car and going to sand springs. Hamburgers were $.10 cents, a Hugh ice cream cone was 25 cents. Sand springs had that great ice cream store. I loved living at Vern station, lived there from my birth. I am now 61 yrs of age. Doesn't seem possible time goes so fast, seems like yesterday. I drove my g'pa's 57 ford all over that yard and learnt to drive at 9 yrs old. I miss that time so much.

Wanda McCray

E-Mail me Tim Connor, so that I can add your comments. (See The Tulsa Info page)

This page was last updated on 07/21/11

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